NHL Playoffs

WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF FUCKING CRYBABIES?

Once upon a time, a few months ago, someone asked me why I made fun of Sidney Crosby.  A Penguins fan, he claimed it was “sour grapes,” and that “any one of us would love to have him on our team(s).”

walter_sobchekThere may be an element of truth there.  I mean, for years and years, as a Mets fan, we taunted and made fun of Larry Jones…but I don’t think there is any one of us that wouldn’t have loved him on our team or didn’t respect the shit out of him.

But Crosby is different.  He gets the benefit of the doubt with EVERY call.  Anytime something happens to him, legal or not, the league goes RUSHING to his defense.  Mario Lemieux, a player I always loved and respected and would have never ever called “soft,” has become a total pussy when it comes to defending the crown jewel of his organization.

Yeah Sidney Crosby is a good player, a perennial Hart Trophy candidate as long as he is healthy.  But he’s a crybaby.  And in a paraphrase of Walter Sobchek, what kind of hockey player are you if you’re gonna be a fuckin crybaby?

But this isn’t about Sid, entirely.  No, the Rangers, in case you didn’t remember, eliminated the Washington Capitals on their own home ice in a 5-0 blow out Game Seven.  The game, which should have been all about Henrik Lundqvist not giving up a goal for 120 minutes straight, should have been about role players coming through in the clutch, and Captain Cally remembering that he honors a legacy of Mark Messier and tough guys.

But no.  Alex Ovechkin, yet another Hart Trophy candidate, has cemented his legacy as a crybaby official questioner.

“Not saying there was a phone call, but they wanted Game 7,” Ovechkin reportedly said in Russian, translated and tweeted by Slava Malamud, a senior writer for Russian sports daily Sports-Express. “For ratings. You know, lockout, escrow, league must make profit.”

I take it he doesn’t remember this call from Game Three, that worked to HIS benefit.

Or basically any other call that has worked to his benefit.  In you know his entire CAREER.

I don’t get it.  Hockey guys get enough shit for skating around.  I’ve even been known to make fun of them for “figure skating” at times.  But these are big tough guys.  They are hulking beasts.  They hit.  They carry around a shit load of equipment as they skate.  Someone like Henrik Lundqvist needs to wear a shitload of equipment AND make moves to save his team.

And two of the best players in the league whine that nothing has gone their way.

WAH!

Sorry to drag Sidney Crosby into this…because this diatribe really has nothing to do with him, but more so the culture that encourages players like he and Ovechkin to openly bitch about shit that happens EVERY DAY in hockey.

Instead of looking at a dominating performance by one of the best (at least Ovechkin gave Lundqvist his due), and his team not showing up for an elimination game on THEIR HOME ICE, I think the Eagles might have a thing or two to say about that.

Here We Go Again

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the cusp of playoff time, as NotGlen Sather calls it, “The Second Season.”  Again. Heck, wasn’t it just like three days ago that the L.A. Kings were celebrating their Cup victory?  Okay, fine, it was almost 10 months ago, but still.  Is it me, or does time go by way too quickly?  Yes, I’m old.  Deal with it.

Yet this hockey season was curious.  The Flyers and Devils are out (and let me take this time to remind you that every single Devils fan I know gave us SHIT about the Rangers losing the first three of four games this shortened season…hope you’re all enjoying your tee times), and as death, taxes and the power play sucking, the Rangers are facing the Washington Capitals in the postseason.  (See my video from the first round last year below)

And I’m not sure how to feel about this.  It was tough for me to get excited about this season, be the prolonged start, and abbreviated season it was.  Talking to fellow Ranger fan, KB, the other day, she was kind of nonplussed about the team making the playoffs.  I can see that, but I can basically say one thing.  That once they start to win, or advance out of the first round, we’ll start to get the bug, the itch that it may OUR year.  Even if we have given SOME OTHER teams grief over winning “half a cup.”

(And yeah, if it comes to that this year, I’m not sure how to resolve my feelings either on that one.)

Of course, this means another sport will be neglected, and that will be baseball.  With good reason too.  To say the Mets have been lackluster is an understatement.  I keep telling my husband, “IT’S ONLY APRIL.”  Yet, by their effort this month, it’s evident that it will be a LONG ASS season.  Until, of course, Zack Wheeler is called up.  And who knows, his start has been below par too out in Vegas.

But it makes me happy that I can shy away from baseball, though it is my favorite sport, I don’t feel bad about not giving it as much attention as I do the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Now, if you want a good laugh or be entertained while watching hockey, be sure to follow my sports tweets @Coopz22.  I have a heart attack with every pass, every shot on goal, every Henrik save or close call, and every goal scored by the Rangers is the BEST GOAL EVAR.   Or I threaten myself with bodily harm.  Just myself.  You don’t have to worry about yourselves.

It’s a do or die situation.  Whether we’ll be invincible or not, remains to be seen.

Trust me, I operate on a different plane during this time of the year.  Apologies in advance.

Tainted Love

It was four years ago yesterday that I saw for the last time, the last man who broke my heart.

I’m sure in a sports blog, that got your attention.

But to love me is to accept my love of sports.  They’re almost one and the same.  I was lucky enough to find someone who “got” me and my love for sports.  Or “got” me, period.

What I learned about that ending is that I was able to question what I would do in the name of love.

But that heartbreak led me to wonder just how desperate I was to be loved, and what I was willing to accept, or take as a result.

It’s not much different, my love for sports, and what I am willing to accept and take as a sports fan.

And that’s why that no matter what happens, I am perfectly okay with not having hockey this year.

I mentioned in my last post, Make Love, Not War, that I had just finished watching a retrospective on the New York Rangers’ 1993-94 championship run.  During Game Seven, the fans cheered so loud, you could not hear John Amirante singing O Canada and Star Spangled Banner.

It made me realize something.  I’ve been waiting since I was 10 years old to see a World Series championship parade, and since I was 18 for a Stanley Cup celebration.  I’m more fortunate than others, I suppose, that I could see championships from my teams in my lifetime.

Yet while I watched the video, and remembered watching the game in 1994, you can hear the passion, you can feel the FIRE of a Ranger fan.  By drowning out the singing of the National Anthem, you just know how wild and fiery these fans are.

You know what else was special about that season?

It was a full one.

That’s why I just want the hockey season to be called off now.  Kaput.  Finished.  Fuck it all.  I mean, why bother?  We know for a fact that no games will be played anyway till after January 14th.  If they are played.

The Winter Classic = Cancelled.  The All-Star Game = Cancelled.  What makes the playoffs so fucking special?

Who needs a playoff taint?  (No, Señor Solly, not THAT kind of “Taint”).

And if I ask why should they play playoff games, why even bother with the season?

How much a regular season is going to be played, should a decision be agreed upon – a little over two months?

Then it begs the question — whoever wins, won’t it be a tainted win?

Is there a point?  Do we want hockey that bad?

No one wants hockey back more than I do.  I’ve felt a void like no other because the season has not started.  But to bring it back if an agreement is made is a slap in the face to everyone.  I get that no one is paid unless the games are played.  But why bother even playing them?  It’s not a *real* season, and won’t even have a semblance of one.  It will be a drive by, a skate by, whatever you want to call it.  It won’t be the same till they play a full season.

So let’s go back to what I was willing to accept a long time ago, the last time my heart was broken.  In less than a year, I met the man I was going to marry, someone who has supported me through thick and thin ever since, especially in this last year, when things got very dark.

I miss hockey.

But if these assholes couldn’t get their shit together prior to the season, why should they do it now?  Just cut their losses, and go for it in 2013-14.

I, for one, don’t want a tainted season.

Whoopfuckneeee

Last week, after the triple overtime Iliad-like quality to the Rangers-Capitals game, someone on Twitter said (before the winning goal was scored), this was the type of game that whoever wins has the most momentum and takes the series.

I believe it was a Caps fans.  I disagreed with it then, and I was mostly shown right when the Caps really didn’t care and won game four, forcing this to at the very least a six game series.

Last night, that game…

Was a changer.

I’m a Mets fan.  And baseball and hockey are different in so many ways, but there’s one thing in sports that’s a constant is momentum.  When the Mets looked like they were about to lose game six in 1986 World Series against the Red Sox, and subsequently the series, they mounted an amazing comeback that is still considered one of the greatest in sports history, let alone baseball.

Leading me to last night’s victory.  Leave it to Brad Richards for his last seconds goal scoring dramatics.  For those who discount the goals because the Capitals took a “stupid penalty,” you must not have watched how atrocious the Rangers’ power play has been all season.  For them to score not one but TWO power play goals in a succession of seconds, is nothing short of miraculous, in my opinion.

Leave it to Marc Staal to put any reservations we had about his post-concussion syndrome to rest by scoring the winning goal, which was a beauty.

Game Six of 1986, the Red Sox walked onto the field in the 10th inning as confident as roosters roaming the range.  They walked off, heads low and looking like they wanted to crawl into bed.  Forget they had a three run lead in game seven.  As one fan said in the documentary Simply Amazin‘, “I don’t care who you are, the ’27 Yankees aren’t coming back from that one!”

Is it bold for me to say that?  Yes, but I truly believe in this team.  They’re not blinders; it’s honesty and realness.  Last night, the Caps were overly confident, and they may have taken a stupid penalty that doomed them but know what?  Lots of stupid penalties worked AGAINST the Rangers too, and does that discount this?

Hell to the no.

Sometimes, it takes a momentum shift to change the dynamic of a series.  The 3OT thriller?  Not a devastating loss for the Caps.  Last night?  A devastating mind-blowing win, that as people were reporting led to some dancing in the street by the Garden.

I’m still in shock from what I watched last night and let me tell you…I’ve been watching this for a long time.

It was epic.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m too lazy to write anything about the Rangers today.  I’m drained, and it’s only the first round of playoffs.  It’s not even officially done yet, and I can’t even imagine how the players must feel.

So I’ll post some links to video, including yours truly, who had a Holy Sheepshit and Balls moment last night after the game.

Enjoy…by the way, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First round, and we’re making comparisons to 1994? Let’s get through this round first…then we can talk.

 

 

 

 

Callahan’s Messier Moment

There’s only one Captain, someone told me. Actually, many have told me that.

But Mark Messier, as celebrated as he is within New York Ranger culture, is and was a mercenary. I know we hate to think of him that way but truth is, he was celebrated and a champion well before he ever came to the Rangers.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Messier brought to the Rangers those years, especially in 1994. I don’t think the Rangers win a goddamn thing without him. The Rangers were a storied franchise before he came to the team, yet he brought a certain something that brought them to the next level.

But for the love of Emile Francis, Ryan Callahan needs to have his Mark Messier moment. And he needed it yesterday.

On my pre-playoff podcast, I discussed with Kevin DeLury from NYRBlogs and Nick Montemagno from Ranger Tribune, that I expected a big series from Captain Cally.

It’s going to take a lot for Ranger fans to accept someone into that cherished Captain fold. It certainly wasn’t Kelly Kisio nor Chris Drury. As beloved as he is, Brian Leetch was never fully accepted into the captain mold. Leetch unfortunately had big shoes to fill. Because he was on the storied ’93-’94 run, it was almost like more was expected of him. Leetch = great player, not a captain.

Callahan is the heart and soul of this team. We point to how blue collar and the hard work ethic that he and John Tortorella have brought to this team. While mercenaries like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards are supposed to add to the goal scoring capabilities of the team, we point to Henrik Lundqvist and his intensity, to guys like Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust for being young upstarts. But Callahan is Mr. Ranger, the guy you look to in these times, when the team heads back to Ottawa for a one game playoff and hope to get that one more win to have home ice that one last time. The reason, you know, for game sevens to exist.

I can’t say it’s happening.

So in the first round, I’m wondering if Cally will have to break out a page from the Book of Messier, where he said, “We will win tonight.”

Is that too dramatic? It may be. After all, some people may be happy with the way the season went and take the playoffs as rationalizing that whole “it’s about who gets hottest at the right time,” that the Rangers have laid the foundation for years to come and blah blah blah.

That’s just fucking bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.

I want all that but I want them to fucking grab the bull by the balls and kick the Senators’ ass all the way. They should have by now. They are not.

I’m saying that anything less than an Eastern Conference final visit is a failure for this season. They have the goods to do it. They just need to see Lundqvist can’t do it all on his own.

That means it’s time for Captain Callahan to wake the fuck up and slap these fuckers into reality.

It’s down to two games now. Let’s do it already.

RANGER PLAYOFF PREVIEW TONIGHT!!

Yes, I know there are other teams in the hockey playoffs…but it’s round one, we just finished the regular season, and I need some New York Ranger fix pronto!  If you don’t like it…join the chat room to heckle me and my guests.

I’ll be joined by Nick Montemagno from Ranger Tribune and Kevin DeLury from the NYR Blogs, two of the best Ranger blogs out there.

We’ll be going live at 7 pm ET tonight, join me at the Gal For All Seasons podcast on NDB Media at BlogTalkRadio!!

Topics include: regular season finish, John Tortorella, rivalries, predictions for Rangers and first round.

March Madness

Most of you probably think of college hoops when you think of the term “March Madness.”  The reality is, I don’t have a horse in that race.  My husband is a St. John’s fan, but if it’s any indication I went to an all-women’s school for my undergrad.  Nuff said.  Although truth be told, I used to really be into hoops in general.  I followed John Stockton and Karl Malone on those great Utah Jazz teams (and ironically, married a Jazz fan, as he actively follows them to this day), but since they retired, I haven’t had much use for the sport professionally. My dad used to live down the street from Monmouth University and those basketball games were always fun.

I guess it was the survival of the fittest, in my life anyway.  Being a gal for all seasons, I don’t have a “break” per se in my sports world.  If you were to look at things from a calendar perspective, I’m booked pretty much from Jan 1 to Dec 31.  I may not have games every day for my team but I may have vested interests in other games to follow.  Basketball kind of fell by the wayside because since that season overlaps with hockey, a sport I like a great deal more than hoops, and ends well into baseball, my number one love, hoops took a hike.

Yet, March is a bit maddening, as a hockey fan and a baseball fan.  I’m looking at the Rangers schedule for the next few weeks and it is JAM PACKED.  We’re in the home stretch of the playoff push, and it’s pretty certain they will get a high ranking in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I’ve often told my dad that hockey season ends when the Rangers are out of the playoffs and baseball season starts that same day.  In the fall, hockey season starts when the Mets are no longer playing (but I have to admit, I’ve watched most of the baseball playoffs in the last few years, just to torture myself I suppose since the Mets are almost certainly never a factor).  Somewhere, football comes in, but as you know, it’s not that much of a commitment.  So for me, the biggies are hockey and baseball due to the time commitments of being a fan.

So herein lies the problem.  It’s March.  My hockey team is doing extraordinarily well.  It seems like they’re playing every other damn day in the month of March.  Yet, my husband, whose baseball love trumps everything else, accepts my love of hockey, but there may be some games conflicting.  Hey, it’s baseball.  Baseball makes everything right.

Except when the Rangers are doing so well.  They had a great game against the Boston Bruins over the weekend, and it seems like this is the start of a new rivalry judging by how the game ended.  In speaking to my Ranger blogosphere buddies Nick Montemagno and Kevin DeLury on last week’s podcast, the general consensus is that the hot team gets hot at the right time and ultimately, rest is for the non-weary in hockey. Unlike baseball when you try to rest your regulars, the playoff push expects more of them.  And more of the fans who support them.

This leaves me with not a lot of free time going into the spring.

I never miss baseball Opening Day.  It’s like my High Holiday.  After that, it’s fair game till the Rangers are done.  But March will be a true test for me, given that the spring training broadcasts are so few and far between and that I have Ranger games many nights.  Should lead to an interesting household to say the least here.